The case of the Southdowns, as improved by Ellman, offers perhaps the most striking instance. Unconscious or occasional selection has likewise slowly produced a great effect, as we shall see in the chapters on Selection. That crossing has largely modified some breeds, no one who will study what has been written on this subject--for instance, Mr. Spooner's paper--will dispute; but to produce uniformity in a crossed breed, careful selection and "rigorous weeding," as this author expresses it, are indispensable. (3/95. 'Journal of R. Agricult. Soc. of England' volume 20 part 2, W.C. Spooner on cross-Breeding.)
In some few instances new breeds have suddenly originated; thus, in 1791, a ram-lamb was born in Massachusetts, having short crooked legs and a long back, like a turnspit-dog. From this one lamb the otter or ancon semi- monstrous breed was raised; as these sheep could not leap over the fences, it was thought that they would be valuable; but they have been supplanted by merinos, and thus exterminated. The sheep are remarkable from transmitting their character so truly that Colonel Humphreys (3/96. 'Philosoph. Transactions' London 1813 page 88.) never heard of "but one questionable case" of an ancon ram and ewe not producing ancon offspring. When they are crossed with other breeds the offspring, with rare exceptions, instead of being intermediate in character, perfectly resemble either parent; even one of twins has resembled one parent and the second the other. Lastly, "the ancons have been observed to keep together, separating themselves from the rest of the flock when put into enclosures with other sheep."
A more interesting case has been recorded in the Report of the Juries for the Great Exhibition (1851), namely, the production of a merino ram-lamb on the Mauchamp farm, in 1828, which was remarkable for its long, smooth, straight, and silky wool. By the year 1833 M. Graux had raised rams enough to serve his whole flock, and after a few more years he was able to sell stock of his new breed. So peculiar and valuable is the wool, that it sells at 25 per cent above the best merino wool: even the fleeces of half-bred animals are valuable, and are known in France as the "Mauchamp-merino." It is interesting, as showing how generally any marked deviation of structure is accompanied by other deviations, that the first ram and his immediate offspring were of small size, with large heads, long necks, narrow chests, and long flanks; but these blemishes were removed by judicious crosses and selection. The long smooth wool was also correlated with smooth horns; and as horns and hair are homologous structures, we can understand the meaning of this correlation. If the Mauchamp and ancon breeds had originated a century or two ago, we should have had no record of their birth; and many a naturalist would no doubt have insisted, especially in the case of the Mauchamp race, that they had each descended from, or been crossed with, some unknown aboriginal form.
From the recent researches of M. Brandt, most naturalists now believe that all our goats are descended from the Capra aegagrus of the mountains of Asia, possibly mingled with the allied Indian species C. falconeri of India. (3/97. Isidore Geoffroy St. Hilaire 'Hist. Nat. Generale' tome 3 page 87. Mr. Blyth 'Land and Water' 1867 page 37 has arrived at a similar conclusion, but he thinks that certain Eastern races may perhaps be in part descended from the Asiatic markhor.) In Switzerland, during the neolithic period, the domestic goat was commoner than the sheep; and this very ancient race differed in no respect from that now common in Switzerland. (3/98. Rutimeyer 'Pfahlbauten' s. 127.) At the present time, the many races found in several parts of the world differ greatly from each other; nevertheless, as far as they have been tried (3/99. Godron 'De l'Espece' tome 1 page 402.) they are all quite fertile when crossed. So numerous are the breeds, that Mr. G. Clark (3/100. 'Annals and Mag. of Nat History' 2nd series volume 2 1848 page 363.) has described eight distinct kinds imported into the one island of Mauritius.